By Clive Bernath: A reliable source close to undisputed world light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu has confirmed that the Russian born Australian is willing to take on Ricky Hatton at the MEN Arena in Manchester sometime in June.
The 35 year-old champion has also confirmed that he is also happy to fight at 4am in the morning to accommodate American Network Showtime, but only if he can agree terms with his US based promoter Vlad Warton.
It has become common knowledge that Hatton's promoter Frank Warren, Warton and Showtime executive Jay Larkin had been in discussions to make the fight for weeks but incredibly, Tszyu or his personal manager Matt Watt had not been a party to negotiations until a short time ago.
But now team Tszyu has had time to mull over a possible Hatton fight and is happy to come to England and face 'The Hitman' as long as the money is right.
The source told SecondsOut: "Kostya Tszyu wants to fight Ricky Hatton next and believes that he is a worthy No.1 contender. Tszyu feels that a fight with Hatton would be a fantastic live event for the fans and a great television fight in the UK, on Showtime in the USA and on other networks around the world.
"Tszyu is prepared to go to Manchester for the fight at the MEN Arena in Hatton's backyard in June at 4am to suit American television, but has not received a contract agreement from his promoter (Warton) that is acceptable. Tszyu does not expect to receive any less or the same that he was paid for his last fight rematch win over Sharmba Mitchell."
Various reports on the internet have indicated that Tszyu is under pressure from Showtime to face Hatton but the source was adamant to point out that the only person under pressure to make the fight happen is Warton.
"If there is any pressure to make the Tszyu-Hatton fight this week, the pressure is on Tszyu's USA based promoter Vlad Warton, not Kostya Tszyu," added the source.
There is still a few obstacles to overcome but It is the clearest indication yet that the 25 year-old Hatton will get the defining fight both he and the British public have been promised for so long.
Below action pic by Tom Hogan
January 3, 2004